Minimise harvester fires with maintenance
Harvesting is well and truly underway in several areas across South Australia and with warmer weather forecast for the coming weeks, the CFS wants to remind growers that harvester and machine losses can be minimised with simple maintenance and hygiene.
Harvester fires can cause considerable damage to surrounding crops and properties, as well as of course the machinery. While it's impossible to eliminate the risk, it's important to recognise the ways you can reduce the chance of fire on your property.
In the past week, volunteer firefighters have been called to several harvesting related incidents including a crop fire at Dowlingville on the east coast of Yorke Peninsula, on Tuesday. This crop and stubble fire resulted in the loss of a header worth $1 million. Thankfully, firefighters with the assistance of farm fire units, saved a significant amount of crop yet to be harvested, estimated to be worth hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Growers must be familiar with the South Australian Grain Harvesting Code of Practice to maintain fire safety, ensuring they focus on service, maintenance, and machine hygiene.
It's also important there is a well-maintained and fully operational farm fire-fighting unit with a minimum of 400 litres of water located in the paddock area where harvesting or grain handling operations are occurring
State Duty Commander Brenton Hastie said growers need to monitor conditions against the Grassland Fire Danger Index (GFDI) and stop operations when the local actual GFDI exceeds 35.
"It's important to recognise factors that contribute to fire weather, including relative humidity, temperature, and wind speeds," Mr Hastie said.
"A regular and pro-active machinery maintenance program is important both before and during harvest, ensuring particular attention is given to wearing parts, hydraulic lines, belts and bearings."
"Growers should use every means possible to avoid the accumulation of flammable materials, with a rigorous clean of machinery in regular cleaning intervals," he said.
A bushfire action plan should be an integral part of a grower's overall business management.
For more information on farm fire safety visit: www.cfs.sa.gov.au/prepare-for-a-fire/business-and-farms/farm-fire-safety/